Argentina’s interim coach Lionel Scaloni is uncertain if Lionel Messi, who captained Argentina at the World Cup this summer, will return to play for the national team again.
Messi was notably absent from Scaloni’s first squad for international friendlies against Guatemala in Los Angeles on September 7th, and Colombia in New Jersey a few short days later.
“I spoke to him and after that talk, he has not been called up for these games” Scaloni said, during a news conference (h/t ESPN FC). “Honestly, we have not spoken about what will happen in the future.
“We all know what he represents for us, and we shall see what happens. I have a good relationship with him, it was a good chat that we had and we were very clear. He will not be in this call-up, and in the future, we shall see.”
Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi, as well as Paris Saint-Germain’s Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain were all dropped as well.
“No player told me he did not want to come to the Argentina national team,” Scaloni said. “All the decisions we have taken are for the good of the national team and to try to see what we can bring to the future. We have very clear in our minds that we need to add people to this new adventure. I spoke to the majority of the players and they all gave me their availability. We feel that we need these players right now. I feel it’s the time for renovation. I’m convinced that the time to call up these players is now.”
“Icardi, Martinez and Simeone are players of a very high level,” Scaloni said. “Mauro is the one that has spent more time among the elite but everyone can add. We have full confidence in them. We will try to increase the pool of players as much as possible so that the future coach can choose.
“We believe that those selected have enormous potential besides having a good present. At this time I’m only thinking about the future of the national team. I’m extremely grateful to the AFA president [Claudio Tapia] for this possibility.
“I couldn’t say no, and I’m thrilled to be here. Pablo Aimar and I want to see as many players as possible in the next games.”